Life-Span Developmental Psychology: Methodological Contributions

By Stanley H. Cohen; Hayne W. Reese | Go to book overview

2 Reflections on a "Model" Approach to Metapsychology

Roderick M. Stewart Austin College


INTRODUCTION

In some recent articles, Hayne Reese and Willis Overton ( Overton & Reese, 1973; Reese & Overton, 1970) have argued against the possibility of a "common language" for research in psychology at large, and in developmental psychology in particular. Their argument was based on a thorough and careful metapsychological reconstruction of the "models" lying behind existing "families" of research programs: for example, behind the split between behavioristic theories and cognitive development theories lie two categorially incompatible "models" accurately described as a mechanistic (reactive organism) view, on the one hand, and a teleological-functional (active organism) view, on the other. My goal in this chapter is to raise two sets of questions for Reese and Overton's project. The first set of questions takes for granted (or, at least does not challenge) the model/metaphor metascience employed by them and raises only "internal" questions. The second set of questions comprises queries and challenges from competing metascientific viewpoints. Let us turn to the internal questions first.


"INTERNAL" QUESTIONS

Model Incompatibility and 2 Kinds of Teleology

For Reese and Overton, lying behind competing research programs in developmental psychology (such as behavioral learning theory and cognitive

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